Oh thank God!
So what happened?
Well... I—I mean, the basic thing that happened is that I woke up today and my vision was, ummm, askew? I guess. But of course it's not happening now.
Well—okay, not like, out of focus—
Were things brighter or darker than norm—
No, no nothing to do with the brightne—
No. Hang on—umm, okay, I can't think of any other way to describe it, but... it's like my vision is out of... frame.
Well I don't see any evidence of premature cataracts—
I know. That's not what it is.
Maybe it's your prescription.
It's not my fucking prescription.
I'm sorry. I'm just... ummmm—
Well, how about things like your balance? Are you feeling clumsy? Off-kilter? Have you been bumping into things?
No... it's like... I can see where everything is but... it's just, like, really, like it missed a sprocket or something... but it's fine now. But as soon as I woke up there was just this, like... empty part of my sight—
You know without film the movies don't even go on sprockets anymore. They actually come on big hard-drives now. My son was working at a movie theater when he was in college when they had to do this big switch over, it was neat, I thought—
You know what? I think I'll be okay—I'm gonna... I'll just go see the receptionist.
But it wasn't okay. Everyone knows that here in the US we don't go see doctors unless something is about two steps from completely fucked, so that he was at the doctor that very day—actually within two hours of waking—meant that he was very disturbed. And I can't describe it to you any better than he did up there, his vision had just been sort of... moved. And with it there was an entire area of just what he assumed was negative space, a whole, very thin scalene triangle in the bottom right corner of his vision, except in the case of poorly placed film, the negative space was not blinding white light direct from the projector's bulb, it had that sort of nebulous quality of shaped colors, or colored shapes that occur when you close your eyes for a long time and begin to see the movement in the darkness, that was what filled the small triangle of his seemingly mis-spooled vision... except now that he wasn't in his house and had made the appointment with the doctor, and had paid money to have it looked at it wasn't there.
He was mainly worried that it was a detached (or detaching if there were such a thing) retina, so the second the doctor said that wasn't the case he might as well have walked out of the office, because there are certain bad things that we want to know that are happening to us, and then if it's not the bad ones we know about already then we'd rather not hear what else it could possibly be. Naturally, he just assumed cancer, as we tend to do. And if it was that he definitely did not want to know—at least not yet.
Maybe it was just some weird sleep thing?, he thought. Like maybe I had my hands over my eyes real hard and pushed my eye deep in the socket somehow or something, and then by the time I freaked out and got to the doctor maybe it had loosened up or whatever.
It was his day off and he went home to go to back to sleep, or try to go back to sleep, but now that he had walked in the door of his house it was back, just that quick. Maybe he just needed more sleep. Sure. That must be it.
He replaced his jeans with sweat pants and blinked and blinked and blinked and then blinked harder, but the missing piece was still there, and if more sleep couldn't fix this then he'd just learn to live with it, he guessed.
But sitting there in his bed with this new, slanted vision, he looked to a part of his wall that he'd stared at so much in his life it might as well have been a piece of him. No, not even that, this certain part of the wall was more than a piece of him, sort of the way you've read every label of every bottle of soap/shampoo/conditioner in your shower so, so, so, so many times, that you know the different product's ingredients as some godly ever-presence that exists as the only stability in your life. Words that are so immutable as to be disturbing in their unchanging-ness, and this was the same way he knew this piece of wall in his bedroom from nights that had become months that had become years of trying to get to sleep and it just being better to open your eyes and wonder instead of clamping your eyes shut in dismay against wakefulness, but now with this new triangle of missingness in his vision there was also something very tangible that had gone missing in his bedroom.
It was an "additional postage" 1¢ stamp that he had licked and pasted back there however many years ago. He loved its semi-hidden presence in his bedroom in the odd behind-the-TV space, like some dumb secret only he himself knew about that was nonetheless special for the mere fact that it existed at all. For a second he thought that maybe its adhesive properties had finally given way after all these years, but then he remembered the last time he touched it (months or years ago, but neither mattered), this thing might as well have been painted over for as in-place and unflappable as its adherence was.
Yet, it was just gone.
This thing that was a piece of the unchangeable matter of our lives was just missing along with the lower corner of his vision, and that the two would just vanish in the same morning, well, it just seemed impossible.
Knowing that sleep would never come, esp. that he had to adjust to his literal new view of the world, he slid to the edge of the bed to see if he could lean far enough to the wall to feel where the stamp had been, maybe sense some tacky residue of the glue, or maybe it had somehow come undone and had floated to the ground amidst the dust and wires of the nether-regions of our televisions. He reached for the wall and made the ever-difficult decision of actually having to leave the bed to do something, but this was important enough (why he didn't yet know) that he got to his feet easily and first began his search amongst the wires. Of course he couldn't see down there, but everyone knows the size and shape of a stamp and if it were down there he'd have felt it within the first second of searching, but its not immediate being there leant a quick franticness to his movements and his thoughts, and if this thing could just be gone what the Hell else could go wrong with the world in just one day?
He got off his knees and stood to look at the wall where the stamp used to be, but to his surprise there wasn't even an outline, or even a slightly distinguishing mark of a textural difference, something he was absolutely certain would be there after this thing had been adhered to the wall for God only knows how many years, he knew that right there on this tiny piece of wall that there should be a sticky residue left over that should be visible even to his newly changed eyesight, but yet there was just the expanse of white wall, all the same except for shadows here and there, but no sign of there ever having been the stamp stuck to it. Now of course it didn't take him as long as it's taking you to read this to think all of these things, but once a person's thoughts go frantic, you can fit as many thoughts in a second as you can angels on the head of a pin.
And in the split-second infiniteness of frenzy he had also felt the wall, and in feeling the wall he felt the stamp, which for whatever reason was not registering in his vision. Yet it was there. Using every sense he could to distinguish whether a stamp was on the wall or not, there just was a stamp on the wall. And even though he hated doing it, he began to pick at the edges of the invisible stamp and sure enough, by nicking at the scalloped sides with his (newly) very chewed and ragged fingernails, an invisible stamp came off the wall and into his hands. He could feel it, and even licked the back and still got a very faint hint of that strangely sweet chemical glue taste on his tongue, but no matter what angle he held this tiny piece of paper in front of his face would it appear to him in any line of sight. It wouldn't even block out other incoming light, meaning wherever he held it there wasn't even the shape of a stamp to distort the view of anything else in his room.
He quickly took off his sweatpants, and with the strongest grip one can keep on a piece of paper this small, sort of pinching it into the middle of one's palm with the tips of your two longest fingers and then carefully yet forcefully folding the rest of the hand around this somatic clamp, he pulled his jeans back on and gently shoved the invisible stamp to the bottom of his coin-pocket in his Levi's, a place he knew that nothing that fit well enough in this small pocket could ever be lost, and he shoved his feet into his shoes without tying the laces and ran to his backdoor, but as soon as he stepped outside the triangle of blankness was immediately gone, and after he stuck a finger into that smallest of pockets to retrieve the stamp, he knew before he pulled it out that it would be visible again, and sure enough, there was the odd 1¢ stamp pinched between his right thumb and forefinger.
Standing in his carport he felt like kicking holes in the walls, but as he'd already done this recently over a (now) much less worrisome matter, he felt to do it again, and in this case of extreme mental disquiet the act could even demean what he was going through in its brattishness.
What do you mean—
What the fuck is he doing?
Well... I think one of the technicians forgot to... "collate" something from his room...
And he noticed?
We believe so... I mean, yes.
Can we fix it?
I really wouldn't worry about it, sir.